Title: Lucky Moon 2: The Luckiest
Author: M.J. O’Shea and Piper Vaughn
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
Publisher: Loose Id
Buy Link: Buy Link The Luckiest (Lucky Moon)
Genre: M/M Contemporary romance
Length: Novel Plus
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Summary Review: An engaging sequel to Moonlight Becomes You where we get to see bad boy Nick transformed with the help of Luka.
Rock star Nick Ventura has finally hit rock bottom. Jealous of his brother’s new love, he starts overindulging in his usual vices and winds up crashing his car into a department store in a drunken haze. Publicly humiliated and on the verge of jail time, he enters into a court-ordered rehabilitation program.
Nutritionist Luka Novak is flamboyant, effeminate, the type of gay man that bisexual Nick would normally sneer at. His sunny nature hides a deep hurt from a previous relationship. Luka knows he should be wary of Nick’s reputation, but he’s drawn to Nick despite himself. Their tentative friendship turns into romance, but Luka soon comes to realize that Nick’s fear of losing his bad boy reputation means he’ll probably never go public with their relationship.
Nick never thought he needed anyone, until Luka Novak came into his life. Now he has to reconcile his carefree past with the future he suddenly wants more than anything. And the first lesson he has to learn is how to become the man that both he and Luka need him to be, the luckiest man, rather than stay the boy he always was. Alone.
I love stories about rock star heroes and after reading and enjoying Moonlight Becomes You I was looking forward to seeing how well these authors could redeem Shayne’s brother Nick. In that first book he’s a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work whose neediness and lack of support for Shayne and Jesse made me want to slap him hard.
As this story starts, Nick wakes up in hospital. High on drink and drugs, he drove his expensive car through a department store window. He’s in for a shock when things can’t be swept under the carpet or paid off and he gets sent to a quiet rehabilitation hospital for three months with no chance of escape. It’s here he meets and eventually befriends nutritionist Luka. When Nick’s time is up they begin a relationship but it’s hard when Nick keeps hurting Luka with his bad boy behaviour.
There was lots to like about this book, in particular the two main characters. The change in Nick is physically quite quick with rehab helping him to be clean and sober. A life of sobriety is a scary thing for Nick though when he’s had the cushioning effect of drink and drugs to make him the life and soul of the party and so the book focuses on his mental recovery. He muddles about for most of the book trying to reconcile the person he was with the person he is now, and the person he thinks his fans or the media want him to be. This means he makes a lot of mistakes and often lets Luka down. The fact that we get Nick’s point of view every time he messes up helps the reader to see what’s going on in his mind. Nick is reactive and doesn’t think through what he does or says and as a result what comes out of his mouth isn’t always what he truly means. The reader sees this and it makes Nick much more sympathetic than it would if we only saw everything from Luka’s point of view. I liked Luka a great deal but sometimes I felt that he had a bit of an unrealistic idea of the difficulties that Nick is experiencing and as a result either thinks Nick is lying to him or he flies off in a strop and doesn’t listen to Nick’s muddling explanations. I felt rather sorry for Nick that he’d spent his entire life either depending on his brother or hiding behind his lifestyle choices and now, suddenly, he’s expected to be touchy-feely, to open up and explain his emotions coherently to Luka when he’s never had to do it in the past. Whilst this doesn’t excuse some of Nick’s actions, I did think a few times that Luka was expecting too much too soon from Nick.
Luka’s attitude towards Nick wasn’t enough to put me off his as a character though. He’s a determined fellow who isn’t afraid to go after what he wants, but has been hurt in the past. I liked that he stood up for himself to his ex, and that he wasn’t willing to put up with some of Nick’s bullshit. He manages to combine a soft exterior with an iron will and I loved that he had a filthy mouth during sex because it was a surprise when he is a generally gentle soul.
The story itself focuses very much on the two of them with a couple of forced separations. This works to keep the intensity of what the pair are going through but I also wished we could have seen some of the consequences of their actions to the wider world. Nick is a celebrity but apart from a bit of lip service about paparazzi, being recognised and visiting recording studios, there isn’t much about Nick as a rock star. For example, Nick and Luka are photographed coming out of a nightclub and arguing but it’s never said whether this made it into the gossip mags and if it did, how this affected Luka in this work. Another part which didn’t work too much for me was the extravagant gesture Nick makes at the end. I understand why it happened and I know some readers would have loved the showmanship of it, but I felt it a little over the top and sappy.
Overall though this is a book worth recommending. It has two great characters in Nick and Luka, plus a few well defined supporting characters – fans of the first book will be pleased with the peek into Shayne and Jesse’s HEA. I rather enjoyed myself reading about the change in Nick, and how true love can soften even the most hardened of hearts and I think many readers will too.